How to repot a cactus

How to repot a cactus

Discover how to repot a cactus with the help of our practical guide.

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Do not To do in January

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Do To do in July

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Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Cacti such as rebutia and mammillaria make attractive, low-maintenance houseplants and are perfect for a bright, sunny windowsill.

For the best results, grow cacti in specialist cacti compost or free-draining compost. Terracotta pots are ideal as they’re porous and allow water and air flow. Plastic pots retain more moisture, so water plants less and ensure the compost doesn’t get too wet.

Contrary to what you might think, cacti do need watering in spring and summer. Let the compost dry out slightly between waterings until September, when watering must be reduced to allow for dormancy.

To stop your cacti getting pot-bound, repot every three to four years or when the roots reach the side of the pot. Here’s how to do it.

Fold a tea towel into a loop, or roll layers of newspaper. Wrap it securely around the body of the cactus to protect your hands.

You will need

  • Tea towel or sheets of newspaper
  • Slightly larger pot
  • Cactus compost or gritty compost mix
  • Fork
  • Horticultural grit or fine gravel
  • Watering can
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Step 1

Fold a tea towel into a loop, or roll layers of newspaper. Wrap it securely around the body of the cactus to protect your hands against the sharp spines.

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Step 2

Carefully lean the plant, in its pot, onto its side and, using the tea towel to grasp it, gently slide the plant out of its pot.

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Step 3

Choose a new pot one size bigger than the original and half fill it with specialist cacti compost or a sharply draining mix.

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Step 4

Check the roots for signs of pests or disease and gently tease out any roots that have become compressed, with a fork.

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Step 5

Use the looped tea towel to help you lift the cactus into its new pot, positioning it at the same depth as it was in its previous pot.

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Step 6

Fill in around the root ball with more compost, firming it gently to remove air pockets and then top-dress with grit. Water.

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